Who Won E3 2016? Microsoft and Sony Draw, Ubisoft in Free-Fall

Find out why the future for gaming is bright, even as some studios flounder horribly.

Posted By | On 14th, Jun. 2016 Under Article, Editorials

Year in and year out, the same question is asked – who won the Electronic Entertainment Expo? Year in and year out, I find myself asking a different question, “Winning what?” Suffice to say, there isn’t anything else but bragging rights and the ability to tout one’s excellence in putting on a show. “Winning” at E3 doesn’t really count for much if the games aren’t ultimately up to snuff. In the end, it just comes down to which show you liked the most and who has perhaps the brightest outlook on the future.

That being said, it’s hard to look at Microsoft or Sony and really judge one to have “beaten” out the other.

"It’s hard to look at Microsoft or Sony and really judge one to have “beaten” out the other."

The reasoning for this is simple – both companies put on excellent pressers that had little to no downtime between major announcements. Sony scored by unveiling exclusives like Death Stranding, Days Gone, Spider-Man, God of War and Detroit: Become Human while debuting even more appealing VR titles than before like Resident Evil 7 VR being exclusively available for PlayStation VR. That’s not including other titles like Batman Arkham VR or Final Fantasy 15 VR. Best of all, this didn’t feel like a show that was bloated to the gills with announcements trying to appeal to every single small subset.

Meanwhile, Microsoft decided to go ahead and proclaim all of its upcoming exclusives to release on Windows 10 as well as Xbox One. Even better, players who purchased the game on one platform digitally would own it on the other. Cross platform play through co-op was supported as was progress transfer between both platforms. That’s not including the gameplay showcased for titles like Halo Wars 2, ReCore, State of Decay 2, Scalebound, Gears of War 4 and so on. There’s also the announcement of the Xbox One S and Project Scorpio which just makes us all the more excited for the future of console gaming.

It was difficult to really decide who won. The announcement of PlayStation VR’s release date didn’t feel as significant as the unveiling of the Xbox One S or Project Scorpio but it was by no means lacking at all thanks to the awesome VR games on display. Sea of Thieves and the banter between its players made me want to ram several rolls of newspapers down my ears. Horizon: Zero Dawn looked pretty awesome. Resident Evil 7 has potential though a lot more needs to be seen. Gears of War 4 looks like tons of fun and Horde Mode is making a return. I thought the guy playing Scalebound could have used more than a damn bow and arrow at key moments during the co-op. Dead Rising 4 didn’t really excite me all that much but God of War did. It’s subjective, at the end of the day, but I feel like both companies had great shows that paint a very positive picture for the business.

Watch Dogs 2_05

"The PC Gaming Show was…odd. I appreciated footage of Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War 3, Tyranny and Vampyr (even if the last was a pre-alpha demo). I didn’t really see much by way of killer apps."

That being said, if you asked me who lost E3, I’d have an even harder time naming just one person due to the sheer number of losers on display.

Take Ubisoft which seemed to be showcasing the dull open worlds of Ghost Recon: Wildlands (complete with horrid co-op commentary) and Watch Dogs 2 (though its mechanics admittedly looked more fun than the first game). If these games look so boring, what does that say about the future of Assassin’s Creed when it eventually returns from vacation?

For Honor felt much less visceral than last year and the combat certainly seemed less strategic. I didn’t care about Trials of the Blood Dragon or Steep. The Division’s Underground expansion had no in-depth gameplay footage and the teaser for Survival was “meh” at best. As someone who played The Division quite a bit, neither got me excited to get back into the game one iota. The sheer idiocy outside of the game, ranging from Aisha Tyler’s annoying jokes to that “WTF”-worthy opening for Just Dance 2017 didn’t help matters. Any interest I might have had in Star Trek: Bridge Crew was minimized by the hard sell everyone involved was doing. Eagle Flight…let’s just not talk about Eagle Flight.

The PC Gaming Show was…odd. I appreciated footage of Warhammer 40K: Dawn of War 3, Tyranny and Vampyr (even if the last was a pre-alpha demo). I didn’t really see much by way of killer apps. I’m sure Giant Cop and Oxygen Not Included will be fun games but the only game I really felt excited to learn more about was Boss Key’s LawBreakers. Even that didn’t receive enough gameplay footage though it was great to hear Cliff Bleszinski tackle the comparisons to Overwatch and witnessing his dedication to making the game work.

Titanfall 2 (3)

"If there was ever a draw at E3 between two companies, it would have to be between Microsoft and Sony at E3 2016."

EA wasn’t all that bad – Titanfall 2 pretty much sealed the deal for me and Mass Effect Andromeda looked…nice. One could even argue that for a non-Battlefield fan such as myself, Battlefield 1 looked pretty decent and could be fun with enough chaos in multiplayer. The long segments devoted to Madden NFL 17 and FIFA 17 represent a core issue that’s been present with EA since the beginning. The publisher simply needs to stop devoting so much time to its sports titles. Heck, FIFA 17‘s Journey mode looked interesting and even then it felt like EA dulled the appeal by having a one-off exchange with a manager on stage that led to nothing. Fe was…well, I wasn’t quite enamoured by Fe as much as Unravel last year. To say the Star Wars demonstration was lackluster due to the lack of information regarding the games from Visceral and Respawn is an understatement. And where the hell was Bioware’s new IP?

If there was ever a draw at E3 between two companies, it would have to be between Microsoft and Sony at E3 2016. Both companies went out of their way to impress audiences, dedicated players and new fans with upcoming and future experience, quality of life improvements and innovations. If there was a second place, it would have to go Bethesda for its showing of Dishonored 2, announcement of Prey, updates for Fallout 4 and DOOM, and the reveal of The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim Special Edition. Among the third party publishers, it was amazing to see Bethesda doing so well, especially when there’s such an outspoken contingent that hates its guts for Fallout 4. It was odd seeing companies like EA and Ubisoft either fall short despite strong game showings or simply fail miserably in presenting itself as a compelling developer. And the PC Gaming Show was simply there, not offending anyone and making a few noteworthy headlines but little else.

This year’s E3 has been pretty interesting insofar as pressers go but whether you’re a PC, Xbox One or PS4 gamer, you’re still in for some great games, exclusive or otherwise. And it certainly wouldn’t hurt for you to check out the rival console anytime soon.

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.

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